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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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similar treatise, On the Education of Children, written in the
following century, dwells on character as the- first consideration
for the educator, so Vergerio, while coupling learning and con-
duct as the joint aims of study, regards learning as subordinate
to morals, A liberal education, he says, is one that " calls forth,
trains and develops those highest gifts of body and of mind,
which ennoble men and are rightly judged to rank next in dignity
to virtue only."* And yet, while not neglecting those physical
exercises which serve as a preparation for military life and at the
same time bring the body under control of the reason, it is mainly
on the literary subjects that Vergerio enters into detail. The
course of study he recommends is a much modified form of the
seven arts. The fundamental studies are history, ethics and
eloquence, under the last being included grammar, the rules of
composition, and the art of logical argument. Poetry is suggested
as an occupation for leisure hours, and the list ends with the
ancient quadrivium. Even more significant than the subjects
is his attitude to them. On the one hand, there is a new emphasis
on style in literature. " Literature/' he says, " exhibits not
facts alone but thoughts and their expression. Provided such
thoughts be worthy and worthily expressed, we feel assured that
they will not die. . , . What greater charm can life offer than
this power of making the past, the present, and even the future
our own by means of literature ? "t On the other hand, and
equally striking, there is a new note with regard to nature. The
quadrivium which the Middle Ages had treated somewhat per-
functorily has obviously a value for him such as it had not had
since science was a living study among the Greeks. " The
knowledge of nature," he adds, after referring to the several
branches of science, " the laws and the properties of things in
heaven and in earth, their causes, mutations and effects—this is a
most delightful and at the same time most profitable study for

The view of education so finely presented by Vergerio was
realized in practice in the next generation by Vittorino of Feltre
(1378-1446), who has not inaptly been called the first modern
schoolmaster. In the interval, the enthusiasm for education had
received a fresh impetus from the appearance of a translation of
Plutarch's treatise On Education, and the discovery, first of a
* Woodward, Vittorino daFdtre^ p. 102,           t Woodward, p. 105.